How does Instagram’s algorithm work?

como funciona el algoritmo de instagram

We talk a lot about what a company profile should do to appear in the Facebook feed and improve the reach of its publications, but what about Instagram? This is the trending social network and the preferred one for users, influencers and brands.

Understanding how Instagram’s algorithm works and learning how to optimize the criteria that are applied on this platform is fundamental to the success of any strategy.

Three Instagram algorithms

Instagram applies 3 different algorithms to set the order in which posts appear in each user’s feed.


If you manage two or more accounts, no matter how similar they are, you may have already noticed that the posts that appear in the feed do not appear in the same order. No two accounts are alike – what’s the reason?

EdgeRank establishes the criteria to prioritize some contents over others according to the previous activity of each user, and some of them are:

  1. Accounts that you have given the most likes to.
  2. Profiles that you have searched for the most.
  3. Accounts that you send private messages to.
  4. Accounts of people you know in real life.

Thanks to this algorithm, each user sees first the posts from their preferred accounts and/or the ones they interact with the most. If the order of appearance were simply chronological, users would miss the opportunity to see much of the content they are most interested in.

Hashtag Search

How does this social network determine the “featured posts” when we search for a hashtag? It does not correspond only to posts from influencer accounts and with numerous followers, as many people think; but to the total number of interactions that an image receives in a certain amount of time.

We insist, Hashtag Search establishes these criteria measuring a certain period and not the total in time, which means that a publication that becomes successful in a few minutes has more chances to be positioned as a “featured publication” than another image that has many interactions because it has been published for a long time.

In the following image, provided by Europa Press, we can see an example:

experimento algoritmo de instagram 600x467 1

Instagram Stories Relevance

Positioning on Instagram Stories is also possible and some criteria applied by this algorithm are as follows:

General criteri:

  • Accounts with high interaction on their posts
  • Accounts that receive the most private messages
  • Stories of profiles you search for

Based on account history:

  • Average viewing time of that profile’s stories by users
  • Number of views that an account’s stories receive
  • Number of posts and interactions that these posts receive

For these reasons, we first look at the Stories that are most viewed and seen in full and are understood to be the ones  that are most liked by a given audience.

How to optimize these algorithms

On Instagram we must also follow the main premise that says “quality is better than quantity”. Therefore, to improve the interactions and visibility of the posts of an Instagram account, these are some tips we can follow:

  1. Don’t post too many  photos in a row. It’s better if you include all of them in a joint publication, which accumulates all the interactions in a single one.
  2. Establish a periodic publication. Neither publish at all hours nor abandon the social network. Establishing a suitable rhythm between saturation and oblivion will maintain interest in your content.
  3. Publish at the right times. Although we have mentioned that the EdgeRank algorithm positions first the images it considers relevant, this does not mean that new publications are left aside. Novelty is always important, especially at peak interaction times; therefore, you should show yourself to your audience when you know  they are connected.
  4.  Do not buy followers. Many fake followers without any kind of activity penalizes your account, because although it seems that you are backed by a large community, the interaction ratio will be minimal. In addition, you can also expose yourself to Instagram closing that account.
  5. Use the right hashtags. Hashtags in English and more generic will only attract likes and comments from automatic bots and spam. It is preferable that you go for a more concrete strategy related to your publication.

With the explanation of the three algorithms that establish the order of appearance of Instagram and these 5 tips to optimize the presence and interaction of your account, no matter if your profile is newly created or does not yet have a large community of followers.

Whether you manage your account personally or through the services of a social media agency in Barcelona, little by little, your account will be among the great ones.

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